Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Big 3-0

Just checking in to share some bad news.  I dropped my camera bag, and somehow the 2’ drop hit my kit lens just right to break it :(  I had been thinking of upgrading so it wasn’t too disappointing, but I still haven’t been able to pull the trigger yet.  So many options!  That means there will be very little project updates until I get something to take pictures with.

In other news, I turned 30 over the weekend!  I decided to go big and Mike and I, along with some family and friends, flew to Las Vegas to celebrate!

Welcome_to_fabulous_las_vegas_sign

via

This was the first time I had been, and Mike hadn’t been since he was a teenager with his family, (a much different kind of Vegas trip for sure).  I didn’t take too many photos – I was too busy taking in everything, but here are some of the memorable things we did.

FOOD

I had done a lot of research about where to eat and it paid off, the food was awesome!  My sister, Mike, and I went to Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan for brunch one day, and it was one of the best buffets I’ve ever been too.

wicked spoon buffet

Why yes, that is bone marrow and a beet salad with vanilla crème fraîche.

Mike and I snuck away from the group on Saturday, my actual birthday, for lunch at Giada at The Cromwell.  It.was.amazing!  Seriously, so good.  We ate a lighter fare, and Mike’s smaller sandwich allowed him to help me devour these tenderloin sliders and zucchini scapecce.

lunch at giada

The server was so sweet, and even though we were too full for a full dessert, brought out a special birthday plate with homemade cookies.

happy birthday from giada

The view was great and we were able to watch some of the afternoon Bellagio fountain shows.

giada view

Sidenote: I loved the open, airy feel of the restaurant.  Lots of white and natural tones.  Not to mention the cork and copper placemats.  I’ve got some cork laying around, now I’ve got some ideas!

We had reservations at Spago in the Forum Shops at Caesars.  We were surprised by the small portions, but they were actually pretty filling, and for once we didn’t overindulge to the point of being uncomfortable.  Contrary to the photos above I don’t usually take food photos, but everything was soo good!

spago dinner

Mike had the agnolotti, morels, and a goat cheese foam.

SIGHTS

My favorite was just walking up and down the Strip. 

traveling the strip

Seeing all the iconic sights, like The Bellagio fountains, was really neat.

bellagio fountains

My favorite though, was Paris.  My sister asked if it was similar to the real place, which I visited years ago, and it really did have a Parisian feel.  I tried to describe how even the bus stations are fancy over there, and they did a decent job of making it nice without being too kitschy.

paris las vegas

We also took a bus up to Freemont Street and walked around, drank and gambled

That’s pretty much what we did the whole weekend, walked around, drank and gambled, and generally tried to see as much as we could of the area in two and a half days.

After dinner on Saturday we saw the Cirque du Soleil show Zumanity. It was adults only, and was really good. Sexy, funny, and some crazy stunts!

chihuly at bellagio

The weather in Northeast Ohio hasn’t been great and it was only mid 50’s when we left.  Surprisingly, Vegas wasn’t that much better.  I mean it was mid 70’s, but Saturday it rained and I thought the town was going to shut down.  Our cabbie couldn’t remember the last time it rained there.

rainy strip

I didn’t mind the cooler weather since walking 10-15 miles a day isn’t ideal in 90 degree heat, but I do wish we were able to lay out by the pool for a bit. 

Overall, it was a fantastic weekend, and definitely a birthday that I’m not easily going to forget!

Friday, April 3, 2015

DIY Leather and Gold Color block Mouse Pad

I’ve been tidying up my office at work and switching some things out that better reflect my style.  Nothing crazy just small changes here and there.  I realized that one of the things that I look at all day is in desperate need of an upgrade – my mouse pad.  It still did it’s function, so I set out to update it to a more modern look.

DIY Color Block Mouse Pad

I originally thought I’d just buy a new one.  Sometimes it’s just easier than DIYing to be honest, but I couldn’t find any cute ones still available.  I fell hard for this one from Freshly Picked, but they are sold out.

Leather and Gold Inspo

via

I loved the leather and gold color block, but the great thing about using vinyl and paint is, you can do whatever color you want. 

It was also easy because I figured I hated the design I’ve got now, so if I mess it up, I could just buy a new one like my original plan.

Mouse Pad Before

I bought 1/3 of a yard of brown leather-looking vinyl.  It was $16.99/yard, but such a small piece, plus the usual Joann’s app coupon brought it down close to $2.50.  I cleaned the mouse pad with some vinegar, then sprayed adhesive on it.  I laid it flat on the backside of the leather and cut off the excess.

Mouse Pad During

Vinyl vs leather

I then taped off half and painted 3 coats of Martha Stewart Gold Metallic Paint

Before it dried I peeled off the tape and set aside to dry completely.  After it dried, I taped it again, but just a hair off of my original edge.  I was worried that constant rolling back and forth over the edge would make it peel, so I wanted to seal the edge too.

I then mod podged the gold and let it dry again.

The thin layers of paint left the vinyl texture visible, which I like.

Mouse Pad Closeup

Now I have a “new” modern looking mouse pad for less than $3!  It took me one evening after work, and knowing how easy it was I wish I had done it ages ago!

Mouse Pad After

Now that I know how well vinyl takes paint, and how great the metallic paint looks, I’m trying to figure out what else to cover up.  Mike better watch his mouse pad, or he’ll get a little makeover too!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

DIY Copper Himmeli Air plant Holder

One of the items I wanted to change in the bathroom refresh was the faux succulents on the back of the toilet.  I liked the greenery, but I wanted something more visually interesting.  I’m loving air plants at the moment, and I haven’t killed one yet, so that’s always a plus too.  I figured I’d get one and create a neat holder, (you can’t really say planted since they aren’t planted anywhere – instead they just sit there). 

I decided to make a himmeli sculpture out of copper tubing that I could tailor to the size I needed.  As you probably could tell from the KDH Family Build-Off, I’m also loving using metal tubing right now.  I slightly modified this tutorial after I realized placing it on it’s side would create the look I wanted.

DIY Himmeli Air Plant Holder

I ordered a Tillandsia Xerographica air plant and the thing is massive!  I was thinking maybe like 4-5 inches would be good and was a little taken back when this arrived and was double that.

Giant Air Plant

In Anu’s design, she planned to hang a planter, so to make sure mine was sturdy enough to stand on it’s own and sideways, I added extra pieces at the connections in the middle.

I just used the plant measurements to guestimate the pieces I needed. The sizes I ended up with are below:

Copper Himmeli Air Plant Holder with dimensions

You’ll need three 5” pieces, six 5.5” pieces, three 7” pieces, and three 9” pieces.  I bought 2 rods of copper tubing and had a couple inches left over after all my cuts were made.  Again, those are just the sizes I used, reducing or adding an inch or two will yield the same result, just bigger or smaller.  I found the tubing at a specialty hardware store, and the copper wire at Ace.

Copper Himmeli Air Plant Holder 3

The plant is mostly leaves, but I just placed the root inside the larger opening and wrapped the leaves around for aesthetics and to keep it from rolling forward.

Copper Himmeli Air Plant Holder 1

The only thing I would suggest based on the fact that I used copper instead of brass is to lightly sand the pieces with steel wool before assembling.  The copper gets pretty dingy with all the handling and this gets it back to it’s shiny color.  I also plan to spray it with a clear coat since it’ll live in the bathroom, to prevent it from oxidizing, (like we did with our paper towel holder in the kitchen.)

Copper Himmeli Air Plant Holder

I’m really happy with the way it turned out and even did a mini version for my desk at work with a tiny air plant Mike got me for Christmas. 

Mini Air Plant Holder

Mike’s Christmas present included maybe a dozen of these little guys, so I have to think of a couple more ways to display them!